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tv   Andrea Mitchell Reports  MSNBC  February 9, 2012 1:00pm-2:00pm EST

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can he connect tomorrow with those activists in the gop that still don't trusthim? foreclosure nation. the biggest banks agree to pony up a record $25 billion over foreclosure abuses. hundreds of thousands of americans stand to benefit. i want to be clear. no compensation, no amount of money, no measure of justice is enough to make it right for a family who's had their piece of the american dream taken from them. >> plus they are young and jobless and they hold the nation's future in the palm of their hands. has the great recession created a lost generation? good day, i'm luke russert in for the indomitable andrea mitchell. the largest gatherings of conservatives is under way this week. four years ago mitt romney entered his presidential
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campaign. tuesday night he'll speak to activists here. can he persuade them he's actually one of them? in an election year, there are no signs conservatives are willing to compromise. >> i can guarantee you coach tom coughlin last week did not tell his giants to go out on the field and to work with those other guys. when you have a shared goal you can work together and compromise. we don't have shared goals with the democrats, folks. >> mark halpern is msnbc's senior political analyst and "time" magazine's editor-at-large. thanks for coming on the program. >> i remember back in the days when you used to go in the field and report rather than be at the anchor desk. >> you've been doing about 30 of these, i've been to three. let's talk about mitt romney set to address cpac tomorrow. folks saying this is mitt romney
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going into the lion's den. can he say anything that will make those activists there trust him and believe in him and rally mind him to try to end his primary fight earlier rather than later? >> i think he darn well better. this will be a bad moment for him or a great opportunity for him. this is not the friendliest audience possible, but comes at a time when he noo eds to prove to a lot of audiences, not just the people in this room, conservative activists, conservative electricity uls want to see him talk about the conservative agenda in a way that's from the heart. he will be competing with gingrich and santorum who are speaking here. he can do it, but he better perform. >> sarah palin is supposedly set to address cpac. any chance she will give an endorsement? >> i don't think so. she is speaking saturday. it's clear at the close of this conference she is not a big mitt romney fan. she's been most favorable to newt gingrich.
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she urged people to vote for him. will be interesting to see what she says about santorum now that he appears to are the anti-establishment candidate who can stop romney. i don't expect her to endorse or move closer to gingrich now that his candidacy is imperiled. will be interesting to see how she reacts to mitt romney. >> the other big story this week is the obama administration's mandate on religious organizations to provide birth control. you had interesting reporting that joe biden and bill daley said president obama should not go along with this. seems the white house gets involved in these culture war issues. you take professor gates in harvard, the times square mosque. what were those conversations like and how much will this hurt obama and the crucial swing states like ohio and pennsylvania that have a lot of catholic voters? >> if they don't handle this well, it will be a bad political thing for the president and
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democrats in the fall. you've seen some democrats turn against him on this issue. there's a possibility now that if the president engages the public and the country and the catholic leadership and reproductive freedom community, engages them in a wig dialogue how to solve a complicated issue, he can resolve it to his benefit. as of now, they handled it poorly. i don't see a way out of this short term. he's got to do it. it gives republicans a talking point about obama care and overreach intrusion from washington that has support not just to energize the base but reach out to a lot of independents and catholic voters who are critical. they better handle that or it will be a problem. >> if there is a way out, it will come friday night at 10:30 p.m. mark halpern, thanks for coming on, we appreciate it. >> as always, that is exactly right, luke. congressional republicans say democrats are playing politics with the payroll tax,
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delaying a deal to extend to it keep the issue alive. really it's not productive to engage in politics of division. we ought to be about multiplication here. john knows very well my position. it's a position of our conference. we do not want to see taxes going up on hard-working taxpayers. >> the only ones blocking agreement are senate democrats and the president. it's time for them to act. >> congressman steve israel of new york is in charge of getting democrats elected. chair of the democratic election campaign committee. thanks for being on the program. >> good to be with you. >> let's start off with a lot of criticism going at the guys with the payroll tax cut issue. they've been open about putting what they would cut to make sure the payroll tax extension is paid for. how come democrats have not put out solid pay-fors saying they would possibly see a surtax on
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millionaires which has not garner a garnered attraction before? >> what's wrong with asking millionaires to do more? i watch eric canter, i like speaker boehner. i like them personally. to say we are the ones blocking progress on a middle class tax cut when we want to extend it for a year and we are the one whose said let's not ask the middle class to pay for middle class tax cut, let's ask people making over $1 million to pay for it. let's ask oil companies to pay for it. what is it about the middle class they despise so much unless it's i paid for by tax increases in the middle class. i don't know what it is about the middle class they are so hostile to. we can extend it for a year. ask people making over $1 million a year to pay a slight, a small surcharge on that
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portion of their income that exceeds $1 million. >> could $1 million surcharge get through the united states senate? >> the house of representatives has an obligation to pass legislation that is fair, that is bold, that is balanced. if they are going to be republicans in the united states senate who are going to take the same position as house republicans that a middle class tax cut has to be held hostage to protecting the rich, i won't pass. you've got to start somewhere and this is where we should start. here is the difference between us. you want a middle class tax cut? cut medicare. you want a middle class tax cut, cut programs and investments in the middle class. here is where house democrats start. do a middle class tax cut and ask people making over 1 million to make a little bit more of that portion of the income over $1 million. there is a big difference between those two starting points. >> on another issue making headway in washington this week is that of the birth control mandate president obama went forward on. john larson, a good friend of yours who headed the democratic
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caucus wrote in a letter to kathleen sebelius the following, "i understand and support their concerns, i believe further flexibility needs to be granted to religious organization." you have bob casey in pennsylvania, tim kaine in virginia, both from swing states. you're in charge to getting democrats elected to this house. how does this issue play in places like ohio, pennsylvania, western and upstate new york where you need to sweep in order to get to that 25? this can't be a good issue for you. >> there is no question there is a pretty strong range of opinion on both sides of this issue. frankly, if you take a look at most of the polling, majority of people agree that if you happen to be a woman teaching at a catholic hospital, you shouldn't be denied access to contraception. a majority of people agree with that. i fully understand this is the
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kind of issue that is, as mark said, contentious and complicated. maybe there are ways to work it out. i will also say this. the people in pennsylvania, ohio, in other states where we are competing, they want focus on job creation. they want focus on how you rebuild the middle class. they want us to be focusing on reigniting the american dream. for as long as republicans stand up there and say they will not give a tax cut to the middle class unless the rich are protected, that's where they continue to have these challenges. let's have a legitimate dialogue on this issue, but at the same time, let's stay focused on rebuilding the middle class, reigniting the american dream and creating jobs and protecting the middle class. >> congress steve israel from new york, thank you for joining us. >> thank you. in syria, hundreds of people died and president assad's six-day assault on political
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dissonance throughout that country. itn bill neely is live from damascus. give us a sense of the situation on the ground. what is assad's endgame and what is the toll on the citizenry there in syria? >> reporter: i can give you the very latest figures from activists, groups called local coordinating committees. a few minutes ago they said that the current death toll for today alone is 137 across syria, including 11 children. 110 of those deaths are in the city of homs. we've no way of proving those figures are correct. indeed, the local activists and doctors say they can't give names because they can't identify the bodies properly because of the intense shelling. if those figures are anything like correct, it would make this almost the deadliest day so far in homs. it would mean that more than 400 people have died in that city
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since the siege began. at least 400 people, maybe approaching or over 500. the situation there is serious. it's replicated in other cities. there is absolutely no sign tat the assault president assad and the syrian army launched against rebels, and there are armed rebels in the city of homs, no sign that that assault is over. president assad is over in his residence over there right now. 48 hours ago he declared here or promised he would end the killing. at the moment, there is absolutely no sign that the killing is going to end. >> bill, is there a degree of ethnic cleansing going on between shiites and sunni muslims throughout the country at the behest of the government? >> reporter: at the behest of the government is a different question. there is evidence -- i wouldn't call it ethnic cleansing either,
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but i would call it sectarian killing. a couple of nights ago three families were killed, around 20 people, by a militia group in one particular area. there has been evidence of this sectarian killing for the last few months. the difficult thing is that this is a patch work, this country, of sectarian groups. it is majority sunni muslim, but president assad and the people who are in the leadership of the military are from a shiite sect. there are christians in this country, as well. the real danger here as with lebanon which is syria's neighbor and iraq which is its neighbor on the other side is this dissends into a sectarian bloodbath. it is a multi-layered problem here. we've got a political situation of people against a dictatorial
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president. we've got a sectarian element and proxy war involving russia, involving the west and iran. it's a big multi-layered problem. >> the proxy war between russia, china, the united states and iran will get a lot of attention in the weeks ahead. bill neely, stay safe there in damascus. still ahead -- church versus state debate on birth control. we'll hear from both sides of the aisle. the lost generation. how the great recession has hit young americans. it's going to be harder to climb back. [ male announcer ] to the 5:00 a.m. scholar.
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gabby giffords' former aide
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rob barber will run in the special election to fill her arizona house seat. barber, who was shot twice in the attack that nearly killed his boss, says he wants to continue her legacy of working across the aisle. the special election to complete giffords' term is scheduled for june 12th. it's not clear in barber wants
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i think there will be a lot of short-term consequences in terms of disappointment among young people and political consequences, as well. >> what have you seen in terms of political mobilization? young people came in higher levels than in 2008. >>
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and heads-up display. [ engine revving ] the all-new 2013 lexus gs. there's no going back. five major banks will have to pay $26 billion to settle federal and state investigations of alleged foreclosure abuses.
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ally financial, bank of america, citigroup, jpmorgan and wells fargo combined represent 55% of all outstanding home loans. in the settlement, leaders would pay $5 billion in cash and penalties to borrowers, states and the federal government. homeowners could receive up to $2,000 each, another $20 billion would go toward cutting loan balances and refinancing for troubled homeowners. a short time ago, the president celebrated the deal as a victory for the middle class, blasting irresponsible lenders. >> these practices were plainly irresponsible. we refused to let them go unanswered. we look forward to seeing this settlement lead to some small measure of relief to a lot of families out there that need help, and that's going to strengthen the american economy overall. >> for more on the foreclosure crisis and how it could hurt the president's re-election bid, i'm joined by politico joseph williams. thanks for being on the program.
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>> my pleasure. >> i want to put up a little graphic here. for the biggest battlegrounds, michigan, florida and nevada, then you have california in there, but also virginia, among the top ten states that have the highest foreclosure rates. talk about how these states are central to the president's re-election campaign and what he is trying to do to own the issue in these battlegrounds. >> in the 2008 election, president obama took all four states. california's generally considered safe, nevada he took was a battleground, but he won there. michigan -- >> florida. >> thank you very much. how could i forget florida? they were central to the bid. big electoral prizes. something that is definitely on his path to 2012. struggling a little bit, the president is in the poll numbers there, due in large part all these places have high foreclosure rates.
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the announcement will go a long way to the fact he is doing something about it. something they complained about in the past. >> talk about how, and this is something i hear on capitol hill, is that president obama gets the best of both worlds here. he knows that any legislation that he'll deal with this won't get through the house gop. boehner dismissed it saying nothing he proposed so far worked. if anything were to become law, a lot of those people who had been paying and have not fallen behind would probably get upset their neighbors have been bailed out because they couldn't afford to pay. he is taking both sides here and gaining politically, right? >> yes. it's better to be seen as fighting, even if the fight is unsuccessful. that's something you heard from progressives this president, in their opinion, has not gone to bat for them as much as they would like. here he's going to bat and it doesn't matter if he strikes out. at least he's at the plate to torture the baseball analogy. if homeowners always had this moral hazard thing lingering
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over them where they feel like if they played by the rules, but the guy living next to them hasn't, and hasn't gotten the benefit of that, that that's a real problem. a rising teeth lifts all boats in this situation. he's able to help some people. property values won't go down so quickly. >> joe, you in politico always hit a home run, my friend. thank you for joining us. >> my pleasure. women's rights versus religious freedom. what role should the government play? the birth control battle. plus, president obama skirts congress to give states a pass on no child left behind. the big announcement is minutes away. and greek tragedy averted. leaders agree to new cuts to avoid going bankrupt. look! the phillips' lady! we have to thank you for the advice on phillips' caplets. magnesium, right? you bet! phillips' caplets use magnesium. works more naturally than stimulant laxatives... for gentle relief of occasional constipation.
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on "andrea mitchell reports," greek leaders heechd a historic deal to reach spending that could avoid a bankruptcy that could prove disastrous for the world financial system. thousands of protestors gathered outside the greek parliament for days as talks continued. call it muted enthusiasm here in the u.s. markets are up slightly at this hour. the mississippi supreme court is considering whether former governor haley barbour's controversial pardons are valid. part of the case hinges on whether inmates fulfilled all requirements to get a pardon. pentagon is easing rules on women in combat allowing women to serve closer to the front lines. the new rules will continue to prevent women from serving in the most dangerous combat jobs, but will allow them to serve at the battalion level until now was considered too close to combat. prince harry will now return
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to the front lines in afghanistan, after finishing top in his class qualifying as an apache helicopter pilot. the 27-year-old prince will join a unit with the highest kill rate of any serving in afghanistan. later this hour, president obama will free ten states from the law known as no child left behind, granting waivers from what he called a flawed effort to improving students' reading and math skills. kristen welker is live at the white house. this seems to be a complete gutting of no child left behind. what is the goal of the obama administration in regard to this announcement? >> it does gut no child left behind for some extent. no child left behind is a bubl era laws that aims to make all students proficient in reading and math that. criticism stems from the fact
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folks said it was penalizing schools that didn't live up to yearly standards. stripping federal funding from some of those schools, for example. this september president obama said states can obtain a waiver from no child left behind, as long as they provide a viable alternative educational plan, a plan that shows they will get students ready for college and the work force. the big announcement today is that ten schools do, in fact, qualify for that. this is a big deal because just as of last year about half of the nation schools were getting a failing grade under no child left behind. big announcement coming shortly. >> kristen welker at the white house, thank you so much. looking regal in your red. >> thank you, luke. top republican leaders are rallying the troops at cpac in washington today. behind the scenes, republicans on capitol hill are telling top presidential candidate mitt romney he needs to stop playing it safe, and to step up his game. joining me now wyoming
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republican senator john barrasso, senator, thank you for joining me. >> thanks for having me, luke. >> i got to go right to it. a colleague of yours jon kyl went to cpac and tweeted this quote. "this is not exactly romney mania right now." what does that say that jon kyl says the electorate at cpac which are the voters that stuff the ballot box for you, are not too enthusiastic about the man folks in the establishment feel is the best chance for the gop to retake the white house? >> i'll be speaking there tomorrow. i expect to see a lot of enthusiasm for anyone who is running against barack obama. the people are there hoping to see the next president of the united states. also the next vice president of the united states. we'll hear sharp messages from all of the candidates who are still in the race for president. there is going to be incredible
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excitement and they'll leave there united to whoever is on the ballot against barack obama. an effort by this president to go way beyond places that government ought to ever go. >> you're in the establishment over there in the senate and leadership. does romney have it in his gut to relate to these folks who are such activists? >> i have a great deal of respect for governor romney and his positions and commitment and things that he's accomplished as i do for the other candidates, as well. i think any of them who wins the nomination is going to do an incredible job presenting conservative use of limited government, limited in size and scope and spending, trying to get government back under control. we have an administration that always wants to spend more and consolidate more power in washington. you saw this with the recent ruling impacting on the health care law and trampling on the religious rights of people of this country, the first amendment to the constitution. i believe every one of our candidates will do an incredible
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job bringing that voice. >> let's talk about congress. i want to put up a poll right here that shows congress' approval rating. it's not too good. it polls about 10% approval. that was a recent gallup poll. senator jim demint, a colleague of yours from south carolina said the following that i'd like to play. >> i can guarantee you that coach tom coughlin last week did not tell his giants to go out on the field and to work with those other guys. they weren't cooperating with tom brady. the reason for this, and this really is a good analogy, the two teams had different goals. the patriots were there to beat the giants. the coaches said the only way we are going to come out of this is to come out and beat the other guys, if we are going to get to our goals. compromise works well in this
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world when you have shared goals. with your wife, with business colleagues. when you have a shared goal, you can sit down and work together and compromise. but we don't have shared goals with the democrats. >> senator, a lot of frustration over capitol hill for the fact republicans and democrats do not work together at all. is this positive for how you will look in the election in 2012? >> i think there is a difference between compromise and seeking common ground. which we did with the free trade agreements, i did with my colleague from colorado on legislation. those things seem to not get the attention because the president said he wants to run against a so-called do-nothing wrong. when there are accomplishments and common ground found, it seems the president wants to ignore that and only look for areas that divide us. we have a country with incredible debt. horrible spending issues.
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there is a lot we need to do to move this country ahead. specifically we need to work together to get people back to work in this country. >> another hot button issue in washington, d.c., president obama and the administration mandating organizations having to cover contraceptive care. you are a doctor a lot of your female colleagues say this is a medical issue. as a doctor, why is it not a medical issue for women to have right to contraception to perhaps prevent a birth that could hurt them medically? >> this is an issue who pays and what does government tell people they have to do in a free country and free society. government doesn't have the right to come into schools, religious institutions and say you have to supply a service or procedure or a pill that does something that you believe is immoral.
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the archbishop of washington area has said, what are our choices? we can do something we believe is immoral or do something that will be illegal and will get us fined or we can say we are not going to hire certain people? all of those things are not the choices anyone should be faced with. nancy pelosi said you have to pass it to find out what's in it. the health care law is less popular now because of these mandates than it was the day it was signed by the president. >> senator barrasso, thank you for joining us. >> thanks, luke. the fight over this contraceptive issue is getting heat from both sides trying to frame this as women's rights against religious freedom. >> this is not a women's rights issue. this is a religious liberty issue. >> women in this country are tired of being treated like a political football by republicans in congress.
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>> this has nothing to do with contraception. this is about whether the government of the united states should have the power to tell a faith-based organization they have to pay for something they teach their members shouldn't be doing. >> we have news for republicans. this is about contraception. the tax on women's rights never come without being disguised as something else. >> joining me now democratic new york senator kristen gillibrand in new york. question for you. there seems to be a lot of folks within your caucus, specifically bob casey, tim kaine who hopes to be in there, that shied away from joining with the administration on this issue. obviously, you guys have different concerns within the caucus. is it smart politically to do this and in an election year? >> i think the president made the right decision. i am dumbfounded in the year 2012 we are still debating whether women have a right to
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basic health care, basic contraception in this country. i think america's women are overwhelmingly going to support the president's decision. 98%, 99% of american women have taken birth control in their life time. this is common health care for women. they should not be told by their bosses what medicines they are allowed to take. >> there is a fund-raising letter your colleague paddy murray sent out at behest of the dscc. "we all know how hard the right wing will fight to restrict women's rights. it appears to be their number one goal. the very ability of women to participate equally in our owe sight is at stake on election day." earlier today marco rubio said they are going to put forward legislation that will say the president does not have the ability to mandate this religious organizations. is joe manchion, bob casey, are they part of the war on women?
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>> what i can tell you, women want equality. they don't want to be told by their employer and boss what medicines they can or cannot take. these are medical decisions a woman will take with her doctor. one of our main goals was to make sure preventive care is cover. why not guarantee preventive care for 51% of the population? >> yesterday at nationals park you had an opportunity to speak with president obama privately with other female senators about this issue. what did he say to you? >> he shares our values, he shares our goals. he's committed to making sure women in america have access to affordable birth control. >> another issue you've been involved in, senator, is women in combat. the pentagon announcing today women will be able to go into the battalion area. is that enough or should there be more? >> one of the issues i work on
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is to make sure women have access to all the various roles within the military. that they are able to do. they are very much able and part of our combat missions. we want to make sure they are able and eligible to be able to take these leadership roles. again, serve our country in the way they best can. >> senator, what are you doing to make sure the buffalo bills stay in erie county and renew that lease? >> go bills. a lot of love, a lot of affection. go bills. >> the only team that plays in new york state. the new jersey giants had a big win in the super bowl, but the buffalo bills the only team that pays taxes to the state government in albany. >> giants did a great job. thanks. >> take care. pleasure. troubles abound in caucus states. that's next on "andrea mitchell reports." ♪ spread a little love today ♪ ♪ spread a little love my way ♪ ♪ spread a little something to remember ♪ [ female announcer ] fresh milk and real cream
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time. we'll have more on a new report that israel is finding a terrorist wo terrorist group. there is not exactly romney mania right now. that's how republican senator jon kyl is describing the climate going into that annual conservative conference in washington, d.c. we'll have the latest on romney's hard-pressed courting of conservatives. the convoluted process for selecting a republican nominee appears overdue for reform. does that mean caucuses should be on the chopping block? that story is in the new issue of the "national journal." we got an exclusive look at the cover. reed wilson is editor in chief. thanks for being on the program. >> how you doing, luke? >> let's talk about the caucus
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system. rick santorum won three states on tuesday. yet has no delegates to show for it, which left folks scratching their heads. what exactly was he running for in those states? we still have some odd numbers that have come out of iowa over the weeks, they seem to change. what is the problem with the caucus system and will it be changed by 2016? >> in the summer every four years the iowa republican party holds this big annual straw poll. they get two bites at the apple. these caucus processes and results we are talking about so much are just a second straw poll. they are not -- they don't award delegates right away. the delegates elected there have to go through a couple of other steps before they get to go to the national convention and represent their favorite candidates. the things we report are people raising their hands that don't have any real binding application. what makes it worse is when the states screw it up so badly, like iowa, where it took a
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couple of weeks for rick santorum to be named the winner. he didn't get any boost out of that. that hurts a state like iowa which serves as a launching pad for most candidates or any candidate who gets to win there. >> could a change mean iowa is no longer number one? >> there are a lot of states trying to jump in front of iowa for a long time. that's going to be a real discussion at the place where this whole debate is going to happen, both in the democratic national committee and republican national committee. senior members on both parties are going to get together and figure out a way to rein in this process so we aren't sitting out in iowa in early january of 2016. >> reid, you're working on a story about virginia. it's a huge battleground in the 2012 election. you seem to indicate a trajectory of the growth of the minority population that could be very beneficial for the obama campaign. can you talk about that?
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>> yeah. six years ago in 2006, jim webb won in virginia when just 21% of the electorate was minority. now fast forward two years to when president obama's turnout machine took over the state. the minority share of thee p be share jumped to 30%. that is a huge gap. it's one of the biggest in the nation. only texas had a charger increase. that's one of the few things that really working in president obama's favor as he works in state that he's really got to win on his path to 270 electoral votes. >> thanks so much for being here. >> thanks. team obama reveals its 2012 campaign play list. out are the upbeat motown hits that talk of hope and change. in are more pragmatic tunes in
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my dad and grandfather spent their whole careers here. [ charlie ] we're the heartbeat of this place, the people on the line. we take pride in what we do. when that refrigerator ships out the door, it's us that work out here. [ michael ] we're on the forefront of revitalizing manufacturing. we're proving that it can be done here, and it can be done well. [ ilona ] i come to ge after the plant i was working at closed after 33 years. ge's giving me the chance to start back over. [ cindy ] there's construction workers everywhere. so what does that mean? it means work. it means work for more people. [ brian ] there's a bright future here, and there's a chance to get on the ground floor of something big, something that will bring us back. not only this company, but this country. ♪
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which political story will make headlines in the next 24 hours? the washington post anne joins us. president obama is set to speak shortly to talk about no child left behind. how much will this affect standings with the teachers groups and will it help on the issue of education? will it allow him to own it better in the 2012 debate? >> we're seeing the president reach out across a bunch of different issues every day now. this is the beauty of having a rose garden strategy. you can talk about mortgages one day, education the next and
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these are all issues that hit people where they live. there have been aspects of no child left behind that's been unpopular. i think that could help him some. again, we'll see him pivot back to another issue in the days ahead. >> it's interesting to me just looking at this because this is an issue of education that's put to the back burner. it comes up in time where is the president will be at a sign fair or do something of that nature. here he is essentially gutting no child left behind. will the republicans be able to say, look, we passed a law and perhaps it was flawed under president bush but it made some guarantees.
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i don't know how controversial it will be in the end. >> do you think it plays at all with voters in swing states, the education issue? the economy is so big right now. a lot of folks say the education crisis in the united states is a national crisis. we're falling so far behind india and china, that our kids will not be able to compete. it's something that president obama talks about on a routine basis. does that connect with joe voter? can you win a campaign on that
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or do you have to get into the mud pit that we have seen the campaigns move toward to saying mitt romney is out of touch and doesn't understand who you are? >> romney is taking a lot of heat for not having a platform, kind of a positive agenda that he is returning on or a real message to conservatives. i think there's something to be said for having an agenda that you're running on. on the other hand, you're right. it's not as though education or -- >> i got to cut you off here. the president of the united states is about to take the podium now talking about no child left behind. let's listen in. >> thank you. thank you very much. please have a seat. have a seat. thank you so much. hello, everybody. welcome to the white house. i want to start by thanking all
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the chief state school officers who made the trip from all over the country. stand up so we can see y'all. great group. [ applause ] >> thank you. i want to recognize someone who is doing a pretty good right here in washington, d.c. and that's my secretary of education. [ applause ] >> i also got some outstanding members of congress who are here who have always been on the front lines when it comes to education reform. above all, i want to thank all the teachers who are here today. where are the teachers? come on stand up. [ applause ] >> we got some teachers here. earlier this week, we hosted our second white house science fair. some of you may have seen this on tv. i got a chance to shoot a marshmallow out of an air con
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cannon, which i don't usually get to do. i meet these incredibly talented young people. kids who were working on everything from portable housing to disaster victims to technology that can defect smuggling uranium before it became a threat. this young man built a prototype. i asked him how he came up with this idea and he said he's been interested in nuclear materials and collected samples. i asked how does your mom feel about this. he said she wasn't that happy about it. just unbelievable young people. it's extraordinary. before they left, i gave them some homework. i told them go find a teacher who helped them make it here and say thank you because everything single one of us can point to a teacher who in some way changed the course of our lives. i can. the impact is often much bigger than we realize.

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